A TRAMP ABROAD by Mark Twain


Email this review


In my opinion the omitted chapters are strained in theft humor and contain much superfluous or irrelevant matter."" So here is Twain's 1880 European travel book with nine of its chapters removed, eight others pared down, and all the punctuation modernized--""without inserting any language of my own, not even the briefest conjunctions."" Very commendable. But what Neider has inserted is his own taste and network of expectations, a mind-set that has him reaching for the blue pencil whenever he finds Mark's ""artistic conscience to be dozing more than usual."" Legends, for instance. Twain seemed to be fascinated by them, retelling them, musing on their development; filler, says Neider, so good-bye Lorelei, Dilsberg Castle, and the Cave of the Specter. Likewise Mark's interest in natural history (glaciers and other boring stuff like that). And when Mark gets ""silly"" about the pretentious use of foreign words--as he does, with some delightful results, in the omitted ""Harris Climbs Mountains for Me""--Neider gets itchy and A Tramp Abroad gets shorter. The issue, of course, is not whether Neider's taste is good or bad, but that any reader of a collection of pieces has the ability--and the inalienable right--to skim or skip or, just possibly, settle down with something as un-Mark-Twain as the Lorelei; no one interested enough to pick up A Tramp Abroad needs Neider's help in finding its goodies, and Mark Twain doesn't need his lapses, if lapses they be, swept behind the typesetting machine. ""If I may venture to say it myself, this edited version of the Tramp is now a thoroughly delicious book free of the padding demands of subscription publishing. . . ."" What next? How about those boring stretches going on and on about fog in Bleak House? After all, Dickens had those incredible padding demands of serial publishing to contend with, and. . . .

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1977
ISBN: 1153589117
Publisher: Harper & Row